Puerto Galera Resorts Where To Stay Things To Do
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A Brief History Of Puerto Galera
History of Puerto Galera: before Puerto Galera became one of the best Philippines holiday destinations it was one of the oldest settlements of the religious missionaries, founded by the Spanish in 1574 as the provincial capital of Mindoro Island. However, the history of Puerto Galera goes way back into the metal age and probably beyond. Artifacts found at ancient burial sites at Lalaguna and Minolo suggest that a thriving culture existed here for many millennia before the Spanish arrived. Occasional Chinese records from as far back as the 10th century suggest frequent trading with the indigenous Mangyan peoples: exchanging glazed porcelains for gold, jade, corals, shells, birds, rattan and other forest products that were abundant on the island. The Mangyans still live a traditional loincloth–lifestyle in the surrounding forested hills and can occasionally be seen in the town selling woven abaca items and trading gold recovered from the rivers and streams.
The port town of Puerto Galera was probably named after Spanish ships that were based here in the early years of colonisation – Galeras (English = galleys — two masted, shallow draft, rowing/sailing ships) known locally as "prau" or "parao" – that were employed as short distance trading vessels, doubling as warships when required to subdue the populous or thwart attacks from pirates and nearby island chieftains. Varadero Bay, Puerto Galera, was originally a ship repair facility, probably with a dry-dock of sorts; Varadero translates from Spanish to English as "dry-dock".
The popular translation of Mindoro [Island] to "mina de oro" (Spanish - gold mine) may have been the Spaniards' misinterpretation of the native word "Minolo", refering to Puerto Galera's, Minolo Bay. Recent academic and archeological research suggests that the shore (and hillside behind) of Minolo Bay was probably the site of the largest human settlement along the Mindoro coast, prior to the Spanish colonization. Whilst there is definitely gold in the valleys and mountains of Mindoro, there are no records of significant quantities of the metal ever having been mined or shipped from here, so Mindoro as "gold mine" may be proven fanciful.
With the arrival of tourism in the 20th century it became more important to determine the origin of the name "Puerto Galera" and in recent times the romantic translation, “The Port of Galleons”, has held sway over the more academic alternative, "The Port of Galeras". No matter the actual origin, Puerto Galera certainly offered a safe anchorage for many a galera and galleon during the tropical storms and typhoons (hurricanes/cyclones) that frequently cut across the country during the months of May through November.
Puerto Galera lost its status as the seat of government for Mindoro in 1837; Calapan took over the role provincial capital, as the focus of agriculture and commerce shifted East along the coastal plains. [Puerto Galera was briefly the provincial capital again, in 1902 and 1903, when the Philippines was under American rule] More recently, on December 26, 1973, PD (Presidential Decree) 354 was issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, making Puerto Galera a reservation area under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme.
Most recently, in November 2004, Puerto Galera was voted a member of the UNESCO affiliated ‘The Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World’.
And beauty is what you will find: entering Puerto Galera's inner bays through either the Manila (West) or Batangas (North) channel for the first time it is impossible not to be splashed by the residue from eons of nature’s rich evolution that has elevated Puerto Galera to a metaphor for paradise.
Find out about what to do and where to stay in Puerto Galera in the paragraphs below.back to top
Where To Stay Puerto Galera Resorts
Where to stay Puerto Galera resorts? Puerto Galera is blessed with the widest range of beach resorts and resort hotels accommodation of any water sports destination around the country and makes for ideal Philippines beach resort holidays. Whether your budget is that of a backpacker or of a business tycoon there are beach resorts or holiday packages somewhere here that will suit your pocket. Whether for romance and tranquility or for rambunctiousness and camaraderie, Puerto Galera is a primary Philippines beach resort holidays destination. A small but varied selection of beach resorts and resort hotels are offered here to give you a feel for where to stay in Puerto Galera for the best of Philippines beach resort holidays. Note: The beach resorts and resort hotels are listed approximately in geographic order from West to East.
WHITE BEACH RESORTS & HOTELS
Where to stay in White Beach? 25–years ago White Beach was the movie–makers’ beach, because it was devoid of beach resorts and resort hotels. Today, White Beach comprises a bustling tourist community that stretches from the high–water mark way back into the adjoining coconut plantations.
Apartelle de Francesca
is one of the best resort hotels located in the heart of White Beach, with its own swimming pool & mini Jacuzzi, gym and offering mid–priced accommodations. Catering for both Filipino and foreign tourists, most equipment for water sports can be rented at the Apartelle de Francesca. It’s a great place for seminars and conferences too.
T: +63 916 737–3086 W: www.francescaresort.com
THE BAY AREA RESORTS & HOTELS
Where to stay in the bay area? Only a small collection of beach resorts and resort hotels accommodations are available within the bay area of Puerto Galera because there has been a concerted effort to protect the natural beauty afforded by the mangroves and sheltered coves. The bay area is a complete contrast to White Beach. Most beach resorts and resort hotels accommodations in the bay area are very peaceful, at the same time as being convenient to the town.
The Manor At Puerto Galera Five Star Resort Hotel
Puerto Galera’s best 5 star resort hotel accommodation. The Manor at Puerto Galera sits atop the rain forested hill behind the Puerto Galera Yacht Club, The Manor offers the best resort accommodation in the vicinity. Well appointed for those with a need to be cosseted and pampered, with access to an infinity pool, swimming pool, badminton, volleyball, and spectacular views across five bodies of water. Ideal for recreation, wedding receptions, honeymoons and team building. Acclaimed as the best five star resort hotel in Mindoro, with the best Presidential Suite south of Makati.
T: +63 926 937–7908 or visit www.themanorpuertogalera.com
Puerto Galera Villas
Puerto Galera Villas offers a unique Yachtsman’s Holiday Package with a combined waterfront villa and sailing yacht, located in Dalaruan Bay, Puerto Galera. Ideal for a group of four to ten persons who want to fill their vacation with the peace and tranquility of a secluded waterfront villa but also enjoy day–sailing along the coast or across the Verde Passage. A resident boatman and housekeeper will ensure that almost every whim is catered for. If you are looking where to stay in Puerto Galera and want privacy, tranquility and diversion the Puerto Galera Villas could be your choice.
T: +63 2 844–6067 W: www.puertogaleravillas.com
BIG LALAGUNA BEACH RESORTS
Where to stay in Big La Laguna Beach? Big Lalaguna Beach is probably the best beach for swimming & snorkeling because it has many areas of sandy bottom and easy water entry, as well as roped off areas over corals to protect swimmers from bankas. The Big Lalaguna Beach water is crystal clear 99% of the year; the corals are vibrant and varied. When looking at where to stay in Puerto Galera, Big Lalaguna Beach is far enough away from the boisterous nightlife of Sabang Beach so that evenings can be peaceful and romantic. Big La Laguna Beach is full of scuba–diving–focused Philippines beach resorts and resort hotels for families, couples and individuals.
Lalaguna Beach Club & Dive Centre
One of the most established Philippines beach resorts and scuba dive shops on Big Lalaguna Beach offering mid–priced accommodations, a swimming pool, an international menu and a comprehensive range of water sports activities, with equipment for hire, in addition to scuba diving. Lalaguna Beach Club’s new scuba dive shop has all the scuba diving equipment you could possibly need to rent or want to buy; Lalaguna Beach Club & Dive Centre also operate a liveaboard dive boat for scuba diving packages around the Philippines.
Click for live webcam of La Laguna Beach Club & Dive Centre
T: +63 917 794–0323 W: www.llbc.com.ph
SMALL LALAGUNA BEACH RESORTS
Where to stay in Small La Laguna Beach? Small Lalaguna Beach actually has a larger beach–front than Big Lalaguna Beach and offers a wide variety of beach resorts and resort hotels. Small Lalaguna Beach has areas of rocks and broken corals in the shallows, so this is not the best beach for swimming but it is closer to Sabang Beach and therefore more convenient for those who also need an entertainment fix between scuba lesson and scuba certification. Some of the most spectacularly colourful sunrises in Asia have been photographed on Small Lalaguna Beach.
The Portofino Resort
could easily answer ‘where to stay in California’ instead of where to stay in Puerto Galera. Portofino Resort represents good–value–for–money beachfront villa accommodation, with a range of secluded luxury rooms and hotel suites in the mid–price range – depending upon your desire for space. The Portofino Resort restaurant, set beside the swimming pool, provides the perfect inducement for an al fresco dining experience. If you are looking for a Philippines resort that delivers a California holiday at a fraction of a California holiday price then Portofino Resort on Small Lalaguna Beach could be the answer.
T: +63 43 287–3227 W: www.portofino.com.ph
El Galleon Resort & Hotel / Asia Divers
The most established dive shop & resort hotel on Small Lalaguna Beach and a pioneer in the development of scuba diving as a sport in Puerto Galera. When looking for where to stay in Puerto Galera the good, mid–priced rooms overlooking the swimming pool, supported by an extensive international menu at the beach view restaurant, make El Galleon / Asia Divers the best scuba diving holiday choice for the culinary connoisseur – a guest chef is usually in residence during the high–season at El Galleon. El Galleon / Asia Divers could be your base in Puerto Galera for a scuba / technical diving or free–diving adventure. Asia Divers stocks a wide range of international brand scuba diving equipment for rent and for sale.
Click for live webcam of El Galleon Resort Hotels
T: +63 917 814–5107 W: www.asiadivers.com
SABANG BEACH RESORTS
Where to stay in Sabang Beach? Sabang Beach is the ‘party beach’ with bustling entertainment that spans all the hours of day and night. Sabang Beach is all but gone at high tide, with beach resorts and resort hotels competing with the waves for space. If you want to swim here you are advised to go out to one of the two floating bars that are anchored one hundred meters off the waterfront. In fact, the floating bars are probably the most relaxing place to get the best views of the notable Philippines resort environment of Sabang Bay. Billiards/pool, discos and bars are the nightlife feature of Sabang, along with Sabang’s reputation for accommodating every taste.
Big Apple Dive Resort
A 24 hour entertainment and dive resort hotels with reasonably quiet, spacious swimming pool side accommodations in the low–to–mid price range. Billiards/pool competitions mix it up with roast lunches and Bar–B–Qs for those with not a moment of life to waste. If you want to mix your 24/7 scuba diving holiday with billiards and a great Sunday roast then the Big Apple could be your best Philippines resort choice. The Big Apple Dive resort also has a scuba diving equipment store, with international brand name scuba diving equipment available.
Click for live webcam of Big Apple Dive Resort
T: +63 43 287–3134 M: +63 919 449–8298 W: www.divebigapple.com
Capt’n Gregg’s Dive Resort
Capt’n Gregg’s is the longest running dive resort on Sabang Beach and has been a magnet for scuba divers and backpackers to Puerto Galera since the late 1970s. The open seascape views from many of the modest rooms, combined with the spacious panoramic restaurant, make Capt’n Gregg’s Dive Resort a great place for contemplating the previous night’s spoils over a late breakfast. Capt’n Gregg’s is also the spiritual home of the Puerto Galera HASH. If you want your scuba diving holiday to include HASHing and substantial breakfasts, choose Capt’n Gregg’s.
T: +63 43 287–3070 W: www.captngreggs.com
Things To Do In Puerto Galera
There are so many things to do in Puerto Galera:
When scuba diving in Puerto Galera there are almost too few superlatives to describe the experience. Whether your scuba diving passion is deep or shallow, wall or bottom, reef or rock, wreck or coral, drift or drop. Puerto Galera has it all when it comes to the ultimate Philippine scuba diving package; and, it even has its own coral species — anacropora puertogalerae — that has been found nowhere else on Earth.
If you are not yet a scuba diver you will find that most beach resort dive shops will offer a PADI Discover Scuba course to see if other scuba diving packages with scuba certification are what you want to get into or, you can jump straight in and sign up learn to scuba dive with a PADI Open Water Diver course. With an Open Water Diver scuba certification you can follow the route through PADI Advanced, PADI Dive Master to PADI Instructor or branch out and become a Wreck Specialist or a Technical Diver; scuba certification for all levels is available in Puerto Galera. Nitrox, Trimix and other exotic breathables are on offer. Rent your scuba equipment of buy scuba diving equipment from almost any dive beach resort dive shop in Puerto Galera – all international brand–name scuba equipment is available.
The mangrove–lined inner bays of Puerto Galera offer the opportunity for a day of sailing in a dinghy, imbibing nature and embracing the sumptuous tranquility of a tropical marine sanctuary. Sailing here makes a perfect Philippine holiday vacation experience.
If you want to learn to sail then the Puerto Galera Yacht Club offers three–day and five–day sailing courses that will equip you to enjoy the sport of sailing anywhere on the planet. Warning: Learn to sail in the pristine waters of Puerto Galera and sailing anywhere else may seem less beautiful.
The safe but breezy waters off Boquete Beach are the perfect location for windsurfing and every year (usually in early February) Puerto Galera plays host to windsurfers from all around the country and from overseas; Puerto Galera is one of legs on the national windsurfing championship racing circuit.
If you already know how to windsurf and simply want to rent a board then the windsurfing school on Boquete Beach will provide. If you do not know how to windsurf then ask you beach resort and the winfsurfing school and you will be up and surfing within a day and racing within a week.
Whether seeking romance in secluded mangrove–lined inlets or battling the iron–man currents and waves in the tide–rips along the Verde Passage, kayaking is the most environmentally friendly way to discover the 42 kilometers of shoreline that define Puerto Galera.
Kayaking packages including kayaks for rent are available from the yacht club and from most water sports focused beach resorts. If you are alone and want to recruit a kayaking guide, most beach resorts will introduce someone who is knowledgeable about kayaking in the area and any current safety and environmental issues.
Particularly within the inner bays, but also off Lalaguna, Long Beach and Coco Beach, the snorkeling opportunities in Puerto Galera are too good to miss. A day of snorkeling in Puerto Galera can convince you to take up scuba diving as a hobby.
If you plan your snorkeling trip well in advance you can join the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on one of its regular –surveys of the sea–grasses and shallow corals. And of course you simply must go snorkeling over the giant clam beds, which will leave you open mouthed with excitement.
For those who really must get their adrenaline rush through speed but find a drift dive in a six knot current or a twelve knot spinnaker run or a 25–knot windsurf ride a little tame then Jet Skis are tolerated, to be used off the beaches that face the Verde Passage, including Sabang Beach and White Beach; ask at your chosen beach resort.
Perhaps surprisingly, sport fishing is not a huge sport around Puerto Galera but there are at least two sport fishing charter outfits you can engage here. Trolling for Spanish mackerel and bottom fishing for snapper and grouper are the most popular, but you may hook into a barracuda, tuna or a marlin out at the East or West ends of Verde Island Passage. Ask at the Big Apple Dive Resort on Sabang Beach for more information.
Book now for Rikk’s Sport Fishing charters available in San Vicente / Santa Ana, Cagayan, for the best marlin, sailfish, mahi–mahi fishing in the Philippines. Contact Rikk’s Fishing & Marine today: +63 927 431–2800
For the most panoramic views of Puerto Galera you simply must not miss a trip up the mountains to the Ponderosa Golf Club where, with very modest green–fees, you can play golf on one of the world’s most dramatic 9–hole golf courses . . . guaranteed to challenge your short game.
If you do not want to bring your own golf clubs then you can rent suitable golf club sets from the Ponderosa Golf Club. And if you have friends who don’t play golf then still take them along for there is plenty to see and do for non–golfers. All the best beach resorts will organize transport up to Ponderora Golf Club – the golf course in the mountains.
You can hike through the rainforested hills and study the flora and fauna including rare wild orchids and birds or, you can become a beachcomber and walk from bay to bay at low tide. Alternatively you can hike up to the waterfalls and bathe in the crystal clear and refreshingly cool mountain streams.
For those who like running instead of hiking then Sunday afternoon is when the Puerto Galera HASH House Harriers assemble at Capt’n Gregg’s Beach Resort and Dive Shop for a run (or brisk walk), around some time–hewn headland or along an ancient forest trail, towards the On–On of the day, where to consume a friendly beer or more.
The Puerto Galera Range Group is where you can occasionally find the local crack shots proving to each other who is the best on the day. Visitors are welcome and you can hire a pistol and ammunition for live–ammunition–target–shooting. The all new Battlefield Live game, using environmentally friendly, infra–red rifles and machine guns, is now available by prior arrangement through Mission Special.
The Puerto Galera museum provides an interesting insight into the history and changed culture of the town through the Spanish, American and Japanese colonial periods. Located near the church above Muelle Pier the museum is open most hours of daylight, except on Sundays.
On/Off Road Motorcycles / Beach Buggies:
Some of the terrain around Puerto Galera can only be appreciated by going off–road and the only practical way to do that is to hire motorcycles and beach buggies. Hire motorcycles or beach buggies for day or a week of exploration and you can discover sights that few have seen before. Most beach resorts can arrange these for you.
Note: be prepared to use your passport in lieu of a security deposit when hiring sports equipment, motorcycles and beach buggies at most beach resorts.back to top
Where To Dine in Puerto Galera
Since the early 1980s Puerto Galera has become an international destination for back–packers and the rich–and–famous. Alongside its growth in popularity as a place of relaxation and sport, eateries and fine restaurants offering the full spectrum of cuisine have blossomed to sate the appetite of the tourists and locals alike. Starting in the bay area we offer here a selection to sustain you as you explore the wonders of this island paradise.
The Puerto Galera Yacht Club offers a varied menu of international gastronomic delights, from hearty soups and sandwiches to steaks and sashimi. The naturally air–conditioned restaurant and bar is a great place for a romantic dinner for two. For birthday parties and weddings you will find it hard to beat dining under the mango tree overlooking the lawns and garden. The club is most famous for its Friday Night Bar–B–Q and the selection of fine wines.
T: +63 43 442–0136 for opening hours and reservations (recommended for the Friday Night Bar–B–Q)
Capt’n Gregg’s is one of the oldest beach front dive resorts and restaurants on Sabang Beach, and caters for international tourists with an extensive menu of hearty fare. Breakfasts here, overlooking the Verde Passage, are the perfect solution to a night of partying. Take your time to soak up the view in the naturally air–conditioned restaurant located high above the beach and far from the madding crowds. Capt’n Gregg’s evening Bar–B–Qs are sumptuous and the service is very pleasant.
T: +63 917 540–4570 for opening hours, reservations not required except for groups.
The blue and white Floating Bar off Sabang Beach is by far the best place to view the entire Sabang waterfront and the antics of a bay–full of water sports enthusiasts. A freshly–made–to–order sandwich here with a fresh fruit shake, served by very friendly waitresses, will easily triumph over that middle–of–the–afternoon peckishness and allow you to continue to soak up the rays till sundown. Note: the floating bar is removed during the southwest monsoon season (May to September) as Sabang Beach receives a some larger waves during this time of year.
A free service boat to the Floating Bar can be found outside the Big Apple Dive Resort.
The Big Apple Dive Resort >aims to sustain the four–times–a–day diver and offers an international menu worthy of the task. The Sunday roast buffet lunch is gaining a reputation as the best–on–the–beach, with its wide selection, sensible price and very friendly service. The naturally air–conditioned beach front restaurant is open 24–hours and offers an impressive view across the Verde Passage and, with two pool tables in the adjoining bar, there is much to see and do between courses.
T: +63 43 287–3134 reservations not required except for groups
The El Galleon Beach Resorts & Hotel has been located on Small Lalaguna Beach almost as long as Puerto Galera has been a destination and prides itself on its sea–view, al fresco dining experience. Guest chefs are frequently in attendance and the staff are efficient and very helpful. For parties and other celebrations the pool–side can add another dimension to your dining experience and the management is happy to organise events tailored to your needs.
T: +63 917 814–5107 reservations not required except for groups
The Portofino Resort on Small Lalaguna Beach transports you to California and delivers a genuine Tex–Mex, al fresco, pool–side dining experience. Choose from authentic Mexican menu items for breakfast, lunch or dinner surrounded by the sights and sounds of a tropical paradise or sip a margarita while you watch the bankas come and go. The resort is reputed to offer the best–food–on–the–beach and certainly it offers a romantic distraction for discerning lovers.
T: +63 43 287–3227 for opening hours and reservations
The Lalaguna Beach Club and Dive Center on Big Lalaguna Beach is the essence of Puerto Galera, offering a menu that encompasses the needs of the diver and the beachcomber. From overstuffed sandwiches and full–size burgers to steaks and seafood, the choice is hard to equal and the service is friendly and efficient. Consistently good value, the naturally air–conditioned restaurant offers a welcome to all who climb the steps.
T: +63 917 794–0323 reservations not required except for groups
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